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The metaverse stole the show at Mobile World Congress


SK Telecom’s 4D Metaverse Ride at Mobile World Congress 2022 Barcelona, Spain.

Ryan Browne | CNBC

BARCELONA — Mobile World Congress made a big comeback this year — but the term on everyone’s lips wasn’t “smartphones” or “5G.”

It was instead the “metaverse”, a concept that describes vast digital universes where users can play, work and even party.

Since Meta was rebranded by Facebook, the term Meta has been the talk in the tech industry. This was largely to drum up hype. Mark Zuckerberg’sThe vision of the virtual universe.

MWC is the largest trade fair for mobile phones in the world. The word was repeated at the MWC keynote speeches as well as on exhibition stands.

CCS Insight chief analyst Ben Wood said that metaverse was the current buzzword. He stressed, however, that it is still a very elusive term.

It got very strange

The metaverse, which is already unclear, was made even clearer at MWC.

SK Telecom will be present at Mobile World Congress 2022, Barcelona, Spain.

Ryan Browne

South Korean firm SK TelecomThe company had an “4D Metaverse” ride available at its booth all week. Participants sat on the ride, and were able to use virtual reality headsets. The attendees were lifted and taken around in a virtual representation of space.

What was the problem? The catch? same “4D VR” ridesSamsung has previously presented at MWC. Virtual reality was used in many metaverse experiences during the MWC.

HTC invited visitors to its stand to don the Vive headsets of Taiwanese companies and take a walk through a virtual museum. Visitors could use a pen to walk through a virtual desert in VR.

You could also learn how to cook or fight huge insects at the Qualcomm booth. Orange offered to take people on a virtual tour of Notre-Dame Cathedral using Meta’s OculusQuest 2 headset.

CNBC reported that Paolo Pescatore (tech, telecom and media analyst, PP Foresight) said, “There’s a weird, wacky or the wonderful on display here at MWC. All trying to get on the bandwagon which is the metaverse.”

“It feels farfetched. It almost feels like the Wild West right now.

Step by step

The metaverse is a new frontier for telecom firms, and they have started to make small moves with Spain. TelefonicaEven appointing a “chief metaverse executive” According to the company, Yaiza Rubio will head a division that aims at realizing the carrier’s metaverse strategy. The company isn’t sure what this strategy will be.

“We’re thinking about…” [what]”Should be the role for a telco such as Telefonica in this evolution,” Chema Alono, chief digital officer at Telefonica, stated to attendees of MWC.

“We are still not sure. “But we know that we’re going to analyze this carefully because we think this movement can not be stopped.”

BT, however, stated that it had not yet hired a chief metaverse officer.

Marc Allera of BT’s consumer brands told CNBC that you can currently put the word “metaverse” in any job title or initiative.

Mobile World Congress 2022 Barcelona Spain – Orange Stand

Ryan Browne

Allera described metaverse as an evolution of internet. He also said that there are some elements of metaverse. His statement said, “Mixed Reality Experiences are currently being created and they will develop.”

Moving forward

Ironically, Facebook-parent Meta — which fired the starting gun on chatter about the metaverse — didn’t have much of a presence on the exhibition floor at MWC. However, the company was very vocal about its progress.

Zuckerberg released a statement stating that its metaverse ambitions were won’t be possibleIf there isn’t a significant improvement in the infrastructure of telecoms, it will be difficult to get ahead. Meta’s vice-president of connectivity Dan Rabinovitsj stated that the fixed-line and mobile networks today aren’t ready.

Rabinovitsj stated that Meta was also in dialogue with telecoms companies.

Chips will also require greater investment in the future. Semiconductor giant QualcommAccording to a report by MIT, the chips that are used to create the metaverse will have to become smaller, more efficient, and less powerful.

HTC’s Vive Focus 3 virtual headset for HTC smartphones will be displayed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on February 20, 2022.

Ryan Browne | CNBC

“Pretty much everyone who is making a metaverse device at this point is using our chip,” Akash Palkhiwala, Qualcomm’s chief financial officer, told CNBC — including Meta.

Analysts believe that the metaverse will eventually look something like this.

Wood explained that we are at the beginning of an extremely long journey. Wood said that we have already taken an exciting step toward a positive outcome with regards to the pandemic. We are living more blended lifestyles.

He added that “there will be elements” of this which would lend themselves for a metaverse-like feeling. However, it is going to take a very long time to get there.